Thursday, August 02, 2007

A little ride to work, a little ride to discover.

Let's see. I took a couple of days off work to do what? Oh yeah! To work. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? The reason I'm appearing on the early morning scene and playing "Shadow Man" in the picture of Sophie was because of a phone call.

The person on the other end of the phone had a sort of desperate sound in her voice. In order to meet the ever increasing demand for our Basic Rider Training courses, we've had to add some mid-week classes. Easy to add to the schedule and even easier to fill with students. Not so easy to find instructors. Most of us work during the week and teach on weekends. Now there's a class during the week at least twice a month here. I've always had a soft spot for a damsel in distress. It looked like this one was going to do me in, as well.

I swear that my final demise will come at the hands of some gal with a "Oh, you big handsome motorcycle rider, won't you please rescue me?" sad story. I can see myself stepping in front of a bullet thinking I'm protecting her. It will probably turn out that she damn well deserved it all along. That darn chilvary thing Grandpa instilled in me. Go check with Webster. You know, the dictionary guy?

"chivalry: the system or practices of knighthood, the spirit or character of the ideal knight."

"chivalrous: 3. marked by especial courtesy to women."

It's in my Warrior blood. I can't help it. So here I am at 6:20 am. Taking off of work to work.

Thus I found myself wrapping up an advanced class on Sunday afternoon and standing in front of another class on Tuesday night. The joke's on our program, though. It's not really work to me. The only reason I know it's a job is that I get a check for my services at the end of the month. Being a trainer of riders is too fascinating and fulfilling to be considered just a "job". Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of work. My joints sometimes protest from having to pound the pavement on a scorching hot parking lot. That's what vitamin supplements are for, aren't they? I consider it to literally be a life saving effort. I'm also privileged to be able to share some of my sheer joy of riding with others.

Even if we struggle particularly hard with a student it's still rewarding. This is all about the discovery. People come to us and discover they shouldn't be on a bike, after all. That's a huge win compared to what often happens. Instead of buying a bike and going out to crash in an intersection, the wise ( or lucky ) ones discover it in a safe environment. Isn't going to work out? No harm, no foul. Go your way in peace. I know I helped save them from becoming just another statistic.

As rewarding as it is, I was glad to have the noon hour come around. My friend and fellow instructor Jacho was going to be doing the classroom session. We put the bikes away and I danced around the parking lot shouting "I'm free! I'm free!"

This was the day before I injured my ankle so I was quite enthused about riding just for the sheer enjoyment of being on the bike. It was one of those days when everything just comes together. Sunshine without excessive heat, a destination but no particular route designated, and hours to do it in. I grabbed my rear with both hands and got out of there before the dust settled.

My ride to work takes me North on Interstate 5. I'd been watching this strange apparition rising little by little out of the ground just North of Salem. Now that it was nearing completion I was no closer to really knowing what it was. I had my guesses but now I set out to find the truth. I'll say here that the riding was great. My batteries were recharged quite nicely, thank you. There's too much fun detail to share here. The post would take weeks to read. I'll keep it focused on my quest for discovery.

Here's the monstrosity I was chasing. Some of you may recognize it right away. Suffice it so say, we don't see this kind of thing here very often. It turns out to be a water tower for the City of Keizer. The inflow and outflow pipes thread up through the narrow neck of the structure. There happened to be a building official from the City of Keizer there. He explained to me that this design was more commonly found in the Midwest. That's why they chose to build it like this. The municipality wanted something different. Out here we see water tanks that sit high above the ground supported by four spindly legs that seem to have no chance against the weight. This design really doesn't look any sturdier to me. It reminds me of someone with their belt cinched way too tightly. At any moment they're in danger of the top and bottom halves of their body separating!

There's actually a man standing on top of the tower. Two guys from the painter's crew were working inside, sandblasting the surface to get it ready to be finished. You can see the air vent hose on the right side of the tower. Eventually the outside of the tower is to be painted a sort of sky blue color. All I could think of was how lucky I am not to be having to work inside of a big, dark, steel ball high above the ground.

Having completed my mission of discovery, I moved to my next mission. Go find the twisties. Great fun and refreshment. Although, I'm still blown away that no matter where I ride there's so many drivers distracted by cell phones. Some say it's an epidemic. I say it's becoming a pandemic. Look it up. I passed a gal in a black Accura. She was driving 30 mph in a 50 mph zone. All the while furiously moving her fingers over the phone's keyboard. Technically, she wasn't talking on the thing. Texting is even worse, I think. Oh well, people are going to do what they're going to do. My job is to develop and use skills to take care of myself. Look at it as a challenge!

The end of the day saw a ride to work and a ride to play. The best of both worlds. How lucky we are to have discovered the wonder of two wheels!

Miles and smiles,



David said...

I too have been watching that tower go up over the last few months (I run I-5 in a truck frequently). I've also seen them in the midwest. Someday, God will come down with his Celestial 9-Iron and tee off on one of them.

Dave T.

Bill Sommers said...

Any day that involves devoting direct attention to the motorcycle sounds like a great day to me. I know for you it means work as well as play, but for someone like me that is pretty much bound to the commute and some recreational jaunts, is sure sounds like good times.

Have fun,

R.G. said...

I happened on your blog and enjoyed your post. I try to avoid the freeways as much as possible when I ride. Got run off onto the shoulder between Eugene and Albany by and old fella driving a motor home just two days ago, grrr!


Bryce Lee said...

That water tower is an excellent location for a cell phone antenna, or a ham radio repeater antenna!

irondad said...

Don't you hail from the Spokane area? That's a lot of road time, for sure. I'm heading up past there to Sand Point Idaho just after Labor Day. I'll have to watch for a flatbed with a scooter on the back!

I'd almost like to become full time staff but I'd have to take a big pay cut. A whole day devoted to two wheels is definitely a bonus, I agree.

Welcome to my humble abode. It amazes me that the biggest civilian vehicles are often driven by the least capable drivers! Do you commute between the two towns? I spent three and a half years doing the Albany / Springfield commute.

It would be great, I'm sure. Politics would certainly get in the way since it's owned by a city, though.

Take care,